Phrasal Verbs T - Z

This is the phrasal verb reference section. Here there are definitions and examples for hundreds of phrasal verbs found in English.

Don't forget we have a phrasal verb exercise page.


Take Aback

Be surprised.
I was taken aback by her impolite attitude.

Take After

Resemble somebody else's character.
He takes after his father - both equally miserly.

Take Back

1. Bring faulty goods back to a shop.
I have to take that radio back and get my money back.
2. Remind someone of their past.
Seeing my ex-girlfriend again really took me back to when I was at university.
3. Withdraw a criticism, remark, insult, etc.
Look, I take back everything I said. I was drunk.

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Take Down

Write something, take notes.
Here is his phone number, take it down.

Take For

Think a person is something.
I took you for the manager. I didn't realize you were a salesman like the rest of us!

Take In

1. Allow someone to live in your house.
When I saw the flat she was living in, I agreed to take her in for a month or so.
2. (Informal) Deceive, trick somebody.
She was taken in by his promises and his charm.
3. Include.
Our day out took in the museum and the old cathedral.
4. Understand, digest information.
I wasn't listening very well and didn't take very much in. Can you repeat it please?

Take Off

1. Leave the ground.
The plane couldn't take off due to high winds.
2. Be a success, improve.
Our company will never take off unless we spend more money.
3. Do an impression of someone.
He takes off Michael Jackson really well.
4. Remove something from a list, menu, TV schedule.
The TV company decided to take off the program that had caused so many complaints.

Take On

1. Challenge.
You shouldn't take on IBM, they are much too big.
2. Employ.
We need to take on at least three more people for the Christmas period.
3. Accept new responsibilities.
I feel ready to take on more now that my children have left home.

Take Out

1. Go out with.
I hear he is taking out his secretary now. People will gossip!
2. Extract.
The dentist took out three of my wisdom teeth.
3. Start a policy, licence.
You will need to take out a new insurance policy for your boat.
4. Show anger by treating someone badly.
Don't take out your frustration at losing your job on me!!
5. Cause stress, tiredness.
Looking after four young children really takes is out of you!

Take Over

1. Take control of.
IBM has taken over the small software company Hi-Tec Plc.
2. Accept responsibility, job from someone else.
Gina has taken over Jane's advertising office.

Take Through

Explain, guide someone through something difficult.
Don't worry about your first day at work. I will take you through it.

Take To

1. Start something as a habit
He has taken to staying up very late. He was never like that before.
2. Escape somewhere.
The prisoners took to the forest where they couldn't be found.
3. Develop keenness, liking for something.
I have really taken well to windsurfing.

Take Up

1. Start a new hobby.
He has taken up stamp-collecting to try and relax a little.
2. Discuss.
There's an important thing I would like to take up with you.
3. Occupy time.
We took up so long discussing the new company logo.


Talk Down

1. Underplay the quality, importance of something.
Boxers often talk down their opponents before a fight.
2. Talk insultingly to someone.
He always talks down to me like I'm a child.

Talk Into

I didn't want to come tonight, but my wife talked me into it.

Talk Out Of

Persuade not to.
I wanted to come tonight, but my wife talked me out of it.

Talk Over

The two men talked over the situation for more than an hour.

Talk Round

1. Persuade someone to do something.
Jon talked me round into going on holiday with him.
2. Avoid talking directly about a subject.
We didn't discuss the possibility of starting our own business exactly. We talked around it for a while.

Talk Through

Describe procedure, process with someone.
I will talk you through your first operation. Just listen to everything I tell you.


Tear Away

Leave a place under duress.
You will have to tear yourself away from the TV for just five minutes.

Tear Down

They are tearing down the old pub at the end of the road. What a shame!


Tell Against

Count against someone.
His criminal record will tell against him and he probably won't get the job.

Tell Apart

Distinguish, identify between two or more things.
When the twins dress the same, I can't tell them apart.

Tell By

Use to form an opinion.
I can tell by your mood that you didn't win the match today!

Tell Off

Blame, discipline a person.
It's so late. My father will really tell me off.

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